Heading to Ikea to pick out furniture sounds fun, but can be taxing. So imagine having to pick out 26,000 pieces of furniture.
That was the (recently completed) task faced by the city of Toronto:
The city's $1-billion contract with Montreal-based Astral Media Inc., with 26,000 pieces to be installed over the next 20 years, is the "largest private-public partnership in the history of Canada," according to Mayor David Miller, who added that it is also the "largest street furniture contract of its kind in Canada."
So, "street furniture," what does that mean? We're talking bus shelters, benches, bicycle posts, garbage bins, information kiosks, newspaper boxes, and a self-cleaning, wheelchair-accessible public toilet system that rings in at $300,000 a pop.
While some city councilmen are understandably psyched about the facelift, others are cautious:
...the chairman of the industrial design program at the Ontario College of Art and Design said "it remains to be seen how effective the street furniture works when it is built into the urban landscape."
They'd better hope it works well; I've tried returning a couch at Ikea and can't imagine multiplying the process by 26,000.
globe and mail